ZERO SOMETHING. Maisie’s now five months old and entering what evidently is the self-flagellation period of childhood. When she gets excited she brings her hands down like a wind-up monkey beating a drum. Except that instead of a drum she beats herself in the stomach, her head, her father’s head. She is also finding hair especially interesting, which is why she likes to pull on Aimee’s whenever she gets a chance. This is understandable as it’s a whole lot more productive than trying to pull on mine.
I was kind of imagining things to come on our walk to the store today, explaining to Maisie what the Fourth of July is all about, and the conversation that will probably ensue:
ME: The Fourth of July is when the founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence and it was read for the first time to a crowd in Philadelphia.
MAISIE: And they called it the Fourth of July because they signed it on the Fourth of July?
ME: Yes. Well actually it may have been signed on the second or third of July.
MAISIE: Then read to the crowd on the fourth of July?
ME: Yes. Well, maybe not. They’re really not sure about that either.
MAISIE: So we should be having the Fourth of July on the Third of July?
ME: Well, yes. Or the second.
MAISIE: I’m confused.
ME: Don’t worry, it will all make sense someday.
MAISIE: And so when they signed the Declaration of Independence on the Second, Third or Fourth of July that’s when we became free.
ME: Well, no, that didn’t happen until Cornwallis surrendered in Yorktown in 1781.
MAISIE: And that’s when they lit the fireworks?
ME: No, that didn’t happen until the War of 1812 and the British attacked Fort McHenry in Baltimore. That’s when the Star Spangled Banner was written and the fireworks we set off are symbolic of the bombs bursting in air and the rockets red glare.
MAISIE: You’re making this up as you go along.
AFTERTHOUGHT: When I went through the check-out at Safeway, I smilingly rolled out with Maisie and the stroller and left the groceries behind. Then I went across the street to Walgreen’s and did exactly the same thing. Waiting for the day when I walk out with the groceries and stroller and leave Maisie behind.
SPIDER MAN. Sometimes when sitting on my lap, Maisie poses in a Spider Man type of way, like she’s surveying the living room from some distant rooftop. This never fails to inspire me to break out in the famous Saturday Morning Cartoon Song which we sing together…
Spider Man Spider Man
Your friendly neighborhood Spider Man
He’s a jerk, he’s got guts
He’s got radioactive nuts
Look Out Here Comes The Spider Man
(NOTE: Lyrics are approximate)
Last night Maureen (Aunt ‘Tini) came over, and her and Aimee started planning for some dinner party next weekend. I didn’t really listen much except after some discussion over what they should make, Maureen proudly boasted, “I now have a bagel.”
“Well, good for you.”
Maureen meant Barbecue. Easy to understand how you could mix up bagel and barbecue. Same way you might mix up cookie and malaria.
THE RAIN FOREST JUMPEROO. To keep you updated on Maisie’s favorite toy collection, here’s the latest. The Rainforest Jumperoo. It’s a frog chair supported by three cables that allows a child to use their feet to jump up and down. When the child jumps up and down, lights come on and music plays while animal noises come out at random intervals. Around the Jumperoo are various “stations.” One station has a baby elephant, a parrot, and a monkey hanging from a bar. Below that station, there’s a caterpillar that lights up along with what I believe is a cockroach. In the middle is a wheel of fortune with a mosquito, a parrot, a monkey, an elephant, and a hapless turtle that has been painted yellow with green polka-dots by some brat indigenous kids. At another station is the sun, supported by a rainbow towering over a tiger that pops up over the foliage when a yellow button is pressed. Then there’s a little bingo-ball-type cage where inside an alligator, centipede or gecko twirls around amid little balls. Suspended from leaves are a frog that wears an expression like “Holy Crap, how did I get up here” and a special kind of parrot that has a head and three feathers but no body. Below the parrot is a snail with a color wheel as a shell, and opposite the snail is a bee that hangs by a limp blue cord, which apparently in Fisher-Price land signifies that bees are second class citizens.
Now most babies in the Jumperoo jump nicely up and down, looking at the lights and playing at the different stations. Maisie, on the other hand, jumps in a manner that, if she were not belted in, would shoot out of her chair and headlong into the ceiling. When she jumps it’s like she has a personal vendetta against Rainforest Jumperoos everywhere and has taken it upon herself to do whatever she can to kill them. BAM…BAM…BAM… I…HATE…YOU…RAINFOREST…JUMPEROO.
NEW PRODUCT BABY IDEAS:
- The Graco Turbo Baby Stroller With Beer Or Bourbon Bottle Holder
- Baby Chest Tattoo: “My parents went to the t-shirt store and all I got was this baby.”
I’ve been starting to read other stories besides my own to Maisie and have found the plot lines of these books to actually be pretty intriguing and involving. For example, one of her current favorites is Frog Gets Lost. Here is my synopsis:
- Frog lives in pond
- Frog likes to bounce
- Frog bounces past two flowers and a talking caterpillar
- Frog gets too a little over-enthusiastic in his bouncing and gets lost
- Frog asks all the other creatures in the animal kingdom that can talk which way he needs to take to get home.
- All the other creatures in the animal kingdom that can talk offer no help.
- Frog stops bouncing, becomes suicidal
- Frog accidentally wanders by the two flowers originally introduced in Scene 3
- Frog recognizes the flowers and finds his way home.
- Frog reiterates the lesson from the story: That if you ever come across any creatures in the animal kingdom that can talk, beat the crap out of them because they’re no help when you need them.
A landmark day. Maisie ate her first real food (if you can call bananas mixed with formula real food). She dove right in without any hesitation whatsoever proving that she is as finicky in her eating habits as her father is.
- Maisie’s Official First Menu: Begin with an amuse bouche of formula with a hint of banana followed by a light consumme of smashed and strained bananas with formula. For entrée a banana and formula terrine with a light dusting of formula with a banana reduction.
Lately Maisie has been sleeping like she owns the world. And the bed as well.
Maisie may also be obsessing slightly over her looks. Every morning she pulls the mirror on her changing table close to her face. Then after a while, she pulls it in for a closer view. Then says to hell with it and pulls the whole thing on top of her. Then holds on to it like it might float away weightlessly and she may never get to look at herself again.
Maisie may have a boyfriend. We all went down to the Ballard Fish Festival (or some festival, it may have been fish, it may have been mollusks), and Colby and Chase DeBoer accompanied Maisie. Maisie tends to smile and drool when she’s happy, and there was a lot of smiling and drooling while Colby was around. Colby said afterward that he was going to marry Maisie. I said fine, I told him, as long as he had Bud Light at the reception.
NOTE: Colby may have competition since Maisie also smiles and drools when she sees a fork.
Maisie and I are sitting in the backyard today. She’s on the ground picking blades of grass/bugs/dirt and I’m sitting on the lawn furniture writing about it. Her hair is starting to come in, some days it looks like it might be blonde, other days it looks like it might be auburn. On days when she gets a bath, it looks like it might be a bad used-car-salesman combover.
Now she has moved on from picking the grass and is now trying to eat her foot. This is something she does a lot these days. And after having my first taste of baby formula a few days ago, eating her foot makes all the sense in the world.
In fact, in a taste test among both parents and infants, feet were preferred by a 4 to 1 margin over the leading brands of formula. In fact four out of five dentists recommend feet for their patients who drink formula.
I think we may have gotten a word the other day. Was just lying around and Maisie said “Yeah” for no apparent reason.
MAISIE’S FIRST ROAD TRIP. Once again the amazement measurement apparatus went off the charts when Maisie and I faced the Pacific Ocean for the first time and she watched the waves crash, the water rush in and the roar of the water crashing into the sand. She took it all in looked around at the birds, and was very much one with her surroundings. Until a rogue wave came and introduced her still-developing world to the concept of cold, wet, sand-ridden underwear. The usual meltdown followed but it was a different meltdown, one that was based in wonder…more like “what in the world just happened,” rather than “change my diaper now.”
…occurred at the Tillamook Cheese factory after finishing the largest Grilled Cheese Sandwiches ever grilled. After I got done explaining to Maisie the truth about cheese, that it came from rogue cows who didn’t want to make milk, her mother and grandmother made the big mistake of taking her into the Tillamook Cheese factory bathrooms where a deafeningly loud flushing toilet and decibel-shattering hair dryers lie in wait. The flushing toilets were manageable but once the blow dryer’s 747-force engine was engaged, Maisie joined in with a wail that was louder than both getting the attention of her father, her grandfather and some motorcyclists outside.
So add industrial-strength hand dryers to the permanently-scarred-for-life list with surprise birthday parties and Celine Dion.
It was one of the most surreal sights I believe I have ever seen. We pulled into Sand Dunes Frontier along the Oregon Dunes and there they were…nuns. Nuns everywhere. Nuns playing miniature golf, nuns riding dune buggies, nuns drinking Pepsi products. Also playing miniature golf with the nuns were about 500 girls and they had all come to Sand Dunes Frontier in the school bus equivalent of a white panel van. The girls were all wearing dresses that were either sewn by hand or K-Mart, and all looked to be regular active young girls (if regular active young girls wore hand-sewn dresses and walked around with a dull look in their eye).
Seeing an opportunity to simultaneously expose Maisie to cult religion and fun-based sand activities, we booked ourselves on the big sand wagon/truck for a ride into the dunes. The first thing I noticed was that the seat belts had all been reclaimed from 1970 model cars. We did our best to buckle up, then held Maisie close and headed out into the dunes with the Nuns and the Children Of The Damned. Up one hill and down another we went, trusting our lives to a driver with three teeth and maybe half an eye. The kids and the nuns seemed to be enjoying themselves. Maisie seemed to like it as well, and we were all riding gaily with our hands in the air and offering prayers to God that Vern the driver’s good eye wasn’t the one covered by the patch.
“How old is your baby?” the younger nun sitting across from us asked.
“About six months,” Aimee answered.
“She’s very pretty.”
The nun smiled at us innocently, and we smiled back not knowing what her real intentions were. For in Aimee’s arms was not a cute smiling six month old but rather one more mind to meld, one more body to clothe in cheaply made dresses. So we weren’t quite ready when Agnes of God leaned over during a whiny Maisie moment, grabbed her from Aimee’s arms and pulled her close to her frock.
“Here, let me hold her.”
When Maisie let out a wail like she had been kidnapped by Hessians, this nun reacted by dropping a blanket over Maisie who was already deep within the dark frock. Aimee and I were stunned, but Maisie knew Orthodox Christian trouble when she saw it and shot lasers from her eyes into the nun’s brains. We gathered her up and ran for the car, making it there just in time before the other nuns gathered around and started rocking the Hyundai back and forth Detroit-style. Flooring it out of the parking lot, we looked back to see the nuns and the 500 children waving their fists at us while simultaneously checking each other’s hemlines.